Left 4 Dead 2 – DirectX 9 / 3D Vision / AMD HD3D
Like the original, Left 4 Dead 2 is set during the aftermath of an apocalyptic pandemic, and focuses on four survivors fighting against hordes of the infected. The survivors must fight their way through levels, interspersed with safe houses that act as checkpoints, with the goal of reaching a rescue vehicle at the campaign’s finale. The gameplay is procedurally altered by an artificial intelligence engine dubbed the "Director" that monitors the players’ performance and alters the scenario to provide a dynamic challenge for the players as they progress. Several new features have been introduced, such as new types of infected, melee weapons, and a story-arc that connects each of the game’s five campaigns together.
Testing was performed at 1920×1080 8aa 16af with 3D enabled.
When testing AMD 3D and NVIDIA 3D Vision we are quite limited in the scenarios where the two can be compared. This is due to the limitations of AMD’s implementation which uses 3rd party drivers to enable the 3D effect. These 3rd party drivers lack the support and polish of the NVIDIA alternative.
From bugs to lack of game support, AMD disappoint and the experience is made worse by the fact that support for DirectX 10 and 11 is patchy at best. Not only that though, we cannot use Crossfire with AMD 3D. So, to summarise… single GPU only and DirectX 9 games have the most chance of working. With NVIDIA we can pretty much play anything we want in 3D, in fact there is only one game in our test suite which doesn’t yet have some form of 3D support and that is Medal of Honor (single player).
Therefore we opted for Left 4 Dead 2 as our comparison as it is one of the few games we have seen work on AMD hardware in 3D. For the NVIDIA testing we are using the ASUS VG236H screen and 3D Vision Kit, AMD it is a Zalman Trimon screen with passive glasses and the iZ3D driver which costs $30 after the initial 30 day trial.
Configuration, software and hardware issues aside the performance of the AMD solution allows us to play Left 4 Dead 2 in 3D at our chosen settings with decent image quality. We do need to tweak the stereo effect in our drivers before playing to get the best 3D effect though. On the NVIDIA front the experience is better as performance is near identical and the active glasses give a better 3D image quality. Also there is no configuration required, simply enable 3D and its good to go.